We are unsure whether Bora Gulari is the ultimate gamesman or just plain confused, but the latest word is that the wing that caused so much conflict in the lead-up to the Moth Worlds is now being sailed by Charlie McKee while Bora’s back on soft sails. We’ll have more soon, but in the meantime, brainiac lawyer/sailor Matt Knowles is representing the blogosphere for the US Air Force in Aus at the moment as the Aussie Nationals begins (Pre-Worlds). So far, there’s no word whether organizers have anything but a lax Twitter feed for the world’s Moth fanatics…
The last two days have been tough. Yesterday I rigged up and launched in a 12 knot or so southerly with some residual chop. Had one decent downwind and upwind, then on my second upwind speed test run I was sailing on port tack, heard a loud bang, and was in the water. My mast had broken about 1" above the gooseneck, something I’d never seen or heard of on a Mach 2 before. Nonetheless, my day came to an ugly and expensive end.
Today had a similar breeze direction. We launched and did some speed tests over on the west side of the lake with Bora, Bear, Chris, Adam, and Charlie on the wing. We then headed up the lake about 4 or 5 miles. As we did the breeze built. At the same time I blew up a shackle on the main blocks and was left trying to go upwind into a 15-20 knots breeze trimming 2:1. As we passed the power station it just kept building. Eventually we go to a small river valley where the wind was violently funneling. It was easily 30 knots at this point, perhaps more, and extremely sheary. Several times I was just plain blown over going upwind, and upon righting, the bow was picked up and reverse-pitchpolled over the transom. More sailing in these conditions is one of the most physically taxing and emotionally challenging things I’ve ever done. Very ugly conditions. After getting going a bit downwind we found some flatter water and were OK for a bit. However as I entered the bay where the 16’s club is located, my horizontal pushrod began binding up quite violently. I would make it a couple of boat lengths before the bow would flare up then drop, launching me into the shrouds. Top priority was now getting the boat back to the club without breaking anything.
A couple of times while swimming back to my boat after yet another 20+ knots crash I could see some dark shapes moving around in the water below me. I decided they could not be sharks, simply for the reason that if they were, I would be rather unhappy about that fact. Around this point Bora flew by Chris and me (Chris was also having some downwind issues in the ugly short chop and was also in the water) with a sort of odd look on his face and yelling something about how I should sail to flatter water. I did… but things kept getting worse with the height control system. I stopped counting after 33 crashes. I eventually made it back to the club feeling like I’d been run over by a cement truck. No boat breakage. However, once safely on shore Bora told us that he’d nearly run over a 15 foot bull shark that was sunning itself on the surface right next to where I’d been going for my series of unplanned swims. He said he debated telling us, but (wisely in my opinion) decided that we did not need any additional motivation to get upright and sailing again.
Many top sailors have been spotted running around the dinghy park with hacksaws and sadistic expressions on their faces. People have been chopping the tips off their main foils, in addition to the small rudder foils in fashion at the moment. (AK: don’t worry, I won’t be joining this trend).
Lots of questions and speculation about our plans with the wings. We’ll have an announcement soon. And here’s a taste for y’all: